Changes in fine sediment size distributions due to interactions with streambed sediments

Jianhong Ren*, Aaron I. Packman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


In the classical view of fine sediment transport and deposition in streams, particles are expected to be removed from flowing water simply by direct sedimentation onto the streambed. However, recent research has demonstrated that fine sediments can propagate into pore spaces in the streambed due to hyporheic exchange and be removed by a combination of physical and chemical processes. This behaviour can significantly alter fine sediment size distributions during in-stream sediment transport because the physical transport of fine particles and their attachment to bed sediment grains are both a function of the particle size. Herein, we present model simulations for deposition of suspended sediments with a bimodal size distribution. We also applied this approach to analyse the results of laboratory flume observations of suspended sediment deposition. Results from model simulations and flume experiments clearly show that the rate of particle deposition increases with increasing particle size. Thus, the larger particles are preferentially removed from mixtures and there is a fining of the mixed suspensions over time. Both particle deposition mechanisms, i.e. particle sedimentation and filtration, contribute to the fining of the mixed fine particle suspensions over time, and their effects are clearly demonstrated using the fundamental process-based model. These results clearly demonstrate the effects of stream-subsurface exchange on the temporal evolution of the suspended fine sediment size distribution in downstream transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-537
Number of pages9
JournalSedimentary Geology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007


  • Fine sediment transport
  • Size evolution
  • Stream-subsurface exchange
  • Streambed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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